Sunday, September 21, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes

Oh, how a year can change your perspective.

Last September, we deposited our son, Jordan, in his freshman dorm room.

I was one sad mom.

What’s worse, I think he was unhappier than I was. His expression said, “What am I doing here? I really don’t want to be here. This is a mistake.”

Every mom will understand this: even though a child is old enough to vote, pay taxes and live with a complete stranger in a tiny, musty dorm room, if he’s troubled, your heart is also troubled. After we left, I prayed for him daily.

Throughout the year, Jordan grew to tolerate campus life, and in May, he returned home with a new independence and a boat-load of laundry. We spent a wonderful summer with our son and his laundry, and then before I knew it, it was time to make the second deposit.

Imagine my surprise when I read his first email this year:

Probably one of the best weekends ever. We set up a slip-n-slide, and at first, it was us and another guy, and it was starting to get lame even though it was fun. Then groups of people started showing up, and eventually, we had over 50 people slipping and sliding. We also had at least another 30 people actually sitting and watching, like it was a performance. We were kind of dubbed the most welcoming room and the room with the best chemistry between the two roommates. We will probably be hosting a lot of movie nights. Classes are okay so far.

I’d say one year made a big difference, wouldn’t you? I think my prayers for him did, too.

We all have moments when we think, “How did I get here? I don’t want to be here!” Sometimes our discomfort drives us to God, which is ultimately a good thing.

Also, when we’re dreading situations such as job interviews, root canals or resolving soured relationships, it helps to remember that prayer can work out kinks, whether in the circumstance or in us. Rather than merely enduring, we can end up rejoicing, like Jordan.

God loves turning our negative expectations upside down:

Do not remember past events; pay no attention to things of old. Look. I am about to do something new … I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:18-19).

God cares about what you’re going through. He knows just how to make a way through your personal wilderness, and if he chooses, instead of a river, he can put a slip-n-slide in the middle of your desert.

Whatever your trouble is, pray, and then watch with expectant eyes. He is about to do something new!

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